How To Build Resilience In Difficult Times

Jun 3, 2020

Do you remember how you coped with the last crisis in your life? Did you do it well or found it difficult? Whether you’re facing a career, business, or personal crisis, how resilient you are is key to bouncing back.

There’s a growing body of research that supports the importance of resilience because it helps people handle stress better and do their job well.

You might have heard about building resilience at work. What is resilience and how can you develop the skills to help you become more resilient?

What is resilience?
Resilience is your ability to bounce back from a setback or tough times. It’s the strong stuff that’s at the core of human adversity and overcoming it. No wonder we love books and movies based on this topic. Remember Tom Hanks’ Cast Away?
Can you teach resilience?
The answer is yes.

Resilient employees are stronger employees. It’s a valuable skill because everyone is under pressure and they’re working longer hours than ever before, processing lots of information and making critical decisions every day. It’s equally valuable for employees working in mental health or people-related services.

Your resilience levels are determined by some genetic factors. The good news is that you can still learn and use specific strategies to develop it.

Strategies include avoiding negative thoughts, not imagining catastrophes, and putting a positive spin on your setback.

Break negative thought cycles
How easy is it to descend into gloom because you’re thinking negative thoughts? A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that negative thoughts also affect your ability to perform job tasks. The more you worry, the less effective you become at your job.

It’s hard but not impossible to break a negative thought cycle. Learn to identify it and replace it with a positive thought and logic. If you find yourself worrying about an upcoming performance review, remind yourself of all the things you’ve done to earn a good review. Revisit customer comments or positive feedback received to reinforce that you’re doing a good job.

Don’t catastrophise
How many times have you taken a minor event to the nth degree in your mind? For example, you might have a performance review meeting scheduled with your manager. You remember that mistake you made in the presentation last week and imagine he’ll bring it up in the meeting. What if you get fired, lose your job and your home eventually?

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Catastrophising leads to anxiety and panic and can turn a minor event into something that can badly affect your health. Breathe deeply or have a chat with a trusted friend or colleague to help you get a handle on it.

Add a positive spin
Does looking at the glass half full instead of half empty help you to become more resilient? Positive thinking experts say yes because it helps you deal with stressful events in a healthier manner.

Knowing how to manage stress is an important part of being resilient.

Learn to reframe the situation you’re currently in. If you receive a negative email from your colleague or boss, take a step back and ask yourself why. Could they be having a bad day?

Take decisive action to tackle the problem instead of letting it get you down. Call up your boss, find out what’s really happening instead of stewing over it alone for hours or days.

Becoming resilient at work is helpful because it helps you adapt to change (which humans generally dislike), keeps your health in check (stress causes poor physical and mental health) and helps you do your job better.

Need help with building resilience?
My Resilience Training Course teaches participants the latest techniques and methods for developing resilience at work. It also teaches managers and team leaders the best ways to support their staff during complex times.

Sessions are run via Zoom and can be either 1 ½ hours or 3 hours depending on preference. Call Kerri on 1300 742 029 to book your workshop or email for course information.